It’s 1979. A group of kids are gathered in 4th grade Social Studies creating a Paper Mache’ tiger. (she only remembers the ‘what’, not the ‘why’) . Hardly recalls anything about the 4th grade, but that tiger lives vividly in her mind.
Fast Forward 1981 to 6th grade. The Daughter’s of the American Revolution were hosting an art contest. The winner would receive a monetary reward. The girl couldn't wait to hurry home and make something fabulous. Really didn't even care about the winning part, just excited to have a reason to make real art. She consulted with her dad on the project and together they made the most beautiful Bald Eagle on a flimsy poster board, holding the constitution in its talons. She was very proud.
What next? Where did she go from there? Surely she continued her love of art by living it. Surely, the girl kept playing and creating, taking classes at school, growing in her creative life. NOPE…
She never lost that unquenchable desire to create things but something changed. Along with physical growth and maturity came insecurity. Who was she to even think she was an artist. “Look around. You can’t make real art. You’re a fake, “ she would tell herself. Imagination became censored. It was put on the shelf, left to collect dust, like a really great book you liked so well that you’d pull it back out once in a while to read again on rainy days.
Later, at 20 years of age, she met the mother of the man who would become her husband. Vivian was an artist. Not by trade but she was one. She could really paint. Beautiful landscapes and still life's. She invited her future daughter-in-law to come with her to an art lesson. The girl had a ball but still felt like a fake. The art she made there was just a fluke. It turned out okay but it was just luck.
Life went on and once in a great while the paints and canvas would make an appearance in the kitchen, she’d create her fake art, never satisfied, and put it all away again for months. She made little mixed media party invites for her kids birthday parties. Again, she was proud and satisfied but still, it was just luck that they turned out at all.
The bug never left. It was always there. (That’s probably why she became a hairdresser, and pretty darn successful one at that!)
That art bug bit all the time .The girl started to realize that maybe she could be an artist. Insecurity would have to be put on the shelf and exchanged for the imagination she left there so long ago. Who was the critic anyway? Who Cares!
She painted for gifts, for herself, for fun. Gradually, the inhibitions shrunk as creativity grew. She couldn’t get home from work fast enough to get down to her little basement studio and make art. Creating art gave her a sense of accomplishment she hadn’t felt since the 6th grade. Throwing executive function to the wind, she silenced the critic and enjoyed the process. She began to relate to that forgotten kid. The girl (at this point nearly 40) was making, giving and even selling her art. She started a blog and found others out there who were just like her. They encouraged one another and their lives were influenced by the support from such a community.
OKAY, OKAY. I AM THAT GIRL.
Pablo Picasso said, “ Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Oh, how true!
“Ode to Oz” a gift for Miss Priss’ 4th grade teacher, May 2009